If Given A Choice, Which Do You Believe Is More Advantageous, Diabetic Oral Medications, Or Insulin?

By jigsaw Latest Reply 2014-03-06 06:03:18 -0600
Started 2014-02-27 08:10:03 -0600

Of course no one wants to stick themselves with a needle, as necessary with insulin. On the other hand, most of us would prefer to not deal with the many side effects of oral medications! Some of us can manage our diabetes without any medications, but many are not so fortunate.

Over the years, I have taken various diabetic oral medications, some in combination, and some individually. There were some very uncomfortable side effects with almost every one of them! Also, there is or were, numerous cases where serious and dangerous effects were suspected, as reported by the news media.. Some oral medications were even removed from the market.

I asked at least a half dozen doctors, during the 20 years that I've had diabetes, the following questions.
1. Why do many doctors prescribe insulin only as a last resort?
2. What are the risks, and side effects of taking insulin?

Not one doctor told me that insulin by itself, posed any dangerous side effects long term or short term, with these exceptions.. The only dangers or risks they mentioned were potential blood glucose lows, which of course could be quite risky. Also, potential weight gain was mentioned as a common and potential side effect. I have also read a few additional negatives about insulin, but every doctor that I have approached said there was no medical evidence to prove other claims that I read about.

So these were the only reasons that many doctors apparently keep insulin as a last and final treatment for diabetes. My endocrinologist resisted prescribing insulin, even though I asked him to prescribe it numerous times. I was experiencing some horrendous side effects with oral medications. Finally, and after about a year of insisting, my doctor said ok. Well, no more side effects, great blood glucose mgmt, and I feel better then ever before.

Insulin has been around longer than most oral medications, if not all! So far, most medical reports and tests concerning insulin have been positive. So why do so many people with diabetes appear to fear it?

I remain open minded to your opinions and experiences! What do you believe? What is your opinion on this subject?

67 replies

BogeyGolfer 2014-03-05 20:09:29 -0600 Report

As one who has just started insulin(levemir long lasting), the control I get is much more stable. Sure I have a stress day,and my bs goes up, but over a long period the results in my case have been very predictable.. I think needle fear is met with great resistance, by a large percentage of diabetics..I was one of those people..After the initial shock of having to give myself a shot, I embraced it ,and more importantly the good bs readings.. I was so sick of eating right and not getting satisfactory bs readings.. For me insulin was working,and pills were not

jigsaw 2014-03-06 06:03:18 -0600 Report

It's great that you found a solution to better diabetes mgmt. I found the tiny needle to be nothing like I anticipated it to be, also. I really don't mind it too much, and I find that it is frequently painless.

msann 2014-03-04 12:51:10 -0600 Report

hey guys the pills made me tired but been 14 yrs since I took the pill I guess they do better job now take care!!!

MarkS 2014-03-03 12:57:54 -0600 Report

The reason that other medications are tried first is because typically (and notice I say typically) a Type 2 diabetic's body has not stopped producing insulin but rather the cells have developed resistance to the insulin present. Therefore, glucose cannot be utilized as an energy source by the cells. Oral medications (and more recently injectable drugs) assist the cells in using insulin. So, as the first line of treatment it doesn't make sense to throw more insulin into your system when the cells cannot utilize it in the first place.

jigsaw 2014-03-03 15:38:21 -0600 Report

I suppose that may be the reason in some instances. There are additional reasons why some doctors refrain from prescribing insulin, It is possible to overdose, and experience a very dangerous and damaging blood glucose low. It's even possible to experience a dangerous low, without an accidental overdose. Getting the correct dosages and ratios for each diabetic is a tricky, and somewhat risky venture in some cases.
There are more reasons also, but there are also more and more doctors that are beginning to prescribe insulin as a first defense.
Here is an interesting link!

JaredLahti 2014-03-03 09:16:01 -0600 Report

My last two general practitioners have called it a pseudo type 3. Since I live in the great city of San Antonio we are blessed to have regular doctors that have extensive knowledge about type 2 diabetes.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-04 13:39:38 -0600 Report

I wish we had a few good diabetic doctors here. No Endos. at all. You would think there would be since this is a popular retirement area, but it is a semi small rural town. I have found a family doctor who is in my network, he just loves to increase dosages and prescribe more pills. Thankfully there is diabetic connection and nice people to talk with about our experiences. I am glad you have some knowledgeable doctors, maybe we will get some in the future.

theladyiscrazy 2014-03-02 16:11:30 -0600 Report

I also wonder if some of it is because insurance companies require that they use other methods first BEFORE prescribing insulin. I know this can happen with certain types of medications (like antacids). They require all other pills to be tried (including OTC) before they will cover and pay (even a portion) of the "non-formulary) drugs.

jigsaw 2014-03-02 17:24:43 -0600 Report

I haven't run into that situation! My insurance has paid a fair portion of every prescription that my doctor prescribes. Unfortunately, and as of lately, they seem to be paying less and less!

MoeGig 2014-03-02 08:48:46 -0600 Report

Insulin is a more natural solution to controlling blood glucose. You're substituting your bodies lack of insulin with real insulin. All Type 2 meds are indirect solutions…trying to slow down carb absorption, or make existing insulin your body produces more potent. I've only ever taken insulin, but my dad is T2 and his control is best with 10 units of Lantus each day…he got off all other meds because of side-effects.

jigsaw 2014-03-02 10:55:35 -0600 Report

There is one thing I can say for sure, I feel better, my blood glucose is easier to manage, and remains more consistently controlled. No side effects at this point. I'm satisfied for now.

ICDA250 2014-03-02 02:38:46 -0600 Report

jigsaw… you summed up extremely well most of the pros and cons on insulin that I have heard from physicians, endocrinologists, and the Registered Pharmacists I heard counseling patients when I was working in several pharmacies. The three things that you perhaps did not emphasize are:
1) that delaying going on insulin because of the fear of the pain and bother of injections can be very detrimental to some of the patients with diabetes who also suffer from other serious illnesses such as immune disorders;
2) the use of insulin syringes, A1C tests, and diabetes testing supplies can become quite costly and prohibitive for patients like myself who still do not have healthcare coverage but are not quite yet eligible for Medicare;
3) use of insulin and the concomitant weight gain poses risks as well and I seem to be getting more of the symptoms and disability of hypoglycemia when ever my blood sugar goes below 100 (even though that reading is considered part of the normal range).THIS is not a minor problem because the cousin I lived with died of cardiac heart rhythm complications possibly exacerbated by low blood sugar and insulin use when his blood sugar dipped down to 50.
Medicare and Medicare Part D will eventually cover many of these costs for me but temporarily I am in limbo because I am not yet 65… I take some other medicines for other illnesses which require expensive follow up monitoring from a clinical trial drug experiment that I was a test subject for. Unfortunately the Republican governor of Florida and or legislature have obstructed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Florida.

jigsaw 2014-03-02 09:15:38 -0600 Report

You bring up some very important, and legitimate points.Certainly there are risks to consider with insulin, as there are with all medications. Of course the cost can be a major factor, and even prohibitive, unfortunately.

The information that you have emphasized, is appreciated, and I thankyou!
Hopefully, the many complications that have developed with health insurance, and the resulting hardships to many of us will eventually be ironed out.

camerashy 2014-03-01 15:38:00 -0600 Report

Being diabetic is bad enough, and I'm insulin-dependent anyway, but there's no way I would take any medication for any illness or disease that has more or worse side effects than whatever I have.

jigsaw 2014-03-02 09:23:34 -0600 Report

I agree with you on that point! The only exception that could possibly exist, is if it was a matter of life and death. Then, I would most likely consider taking a horrible medication, if it would keep me alive. On the other hand, I suspect that some medications, not only cause terrible results, but it's well known that there have been deaths that have resulted.

So medication does have its place in our lives, but a great deal of caution should come into play also.

JaredLahti 2014-02-28 19:33:24 -0600 Report

I've been told by my doctor that the reason they use insulin as a last resort is that Type 2 diabetics become what he calls a Type 3. This is a insulin resistant diabetic that is insulin dependent. He considers this to be the worst of a bad situation. For that reason I prefer to not be on medication at all, but if I have to be on meds I would choose just metformin.

jayabee52 2014-03-03 09:05:38 -0600 Report

Type 3 diabetes is not merely insulin resistant it is instead referred to by many as Alzheimers disease: In an article entitled: "Alzheimer's Disease Is Type 3 Diabetes–Evidence Reviewed" says in the Abstact: "We conclude that the term 'type 3 diabetes' accurately reflects the fact that AD [Alzheimer's disease] represents a form of diabetes that selectively involves the brain and has molecular and biochemical features that overlap with both type 1 diabetes mellitus and T2DM." ~ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2...
So maybe he'll have to call it type 4 instead?

camerashy 2014-03-01 15:39:48 -0600 Report

I'm a type 3. I started out diabetic that could be controlled with diet when I was a child, and guess what? It progressed.

jigsaw 2014-03-02 16:55:56 -0600 Report

Well, your not alone! I put forth a tremendous effort when I was pre-diabetic. I exercised, went on a low carb diet, kept myself physically active about 6 to 8 hours a day, and stayed off medication for close to 7 years. Well, here i am twenty years later, and although I produce insulin, I still take it as my personal preferance.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 20:24:11 -0600 Report

I have heard of that possibility, but it is brought on by by additional reasons in addition to insulin, and not by insulin itself. I know a few people that have been on insulin for 30 years or more! They are doing quite well, and have managed to outlive some people that don't have diabetes.

If you prefer oral medications, that is fine, especially if your doctor agrees. As for me, I cannot tolerate metformin, due to some unusual and unbelievable side effects that developed after a couple of years taking it. Of course if you can successfully manage your blood glucose with simply diet and exercise, that is best.

JaredLahti 2014-02-28 20:31:16 -0600 Report

True it's not completely the insulin. It is the fact that some people allow their blood sugar to stay too high for too long. I know that I felt more invincible while on insulin, which meant that I cheated more on what I ate. Since I have gotten off insulin I have lost over 50lbs and kept my A1c below 6

jigsaw 2014-02-28 21:06:27 -0600 Report

Good number on your A1c, and I congratulate you on losing 50 lbs. The reason why some people gain weight while on insulin, is because insulin allows the body to use carbs more efficiently. The body turns excess carbs into stored fat. As a result, a person on insulin could easily gain weight. There are ways to avoid weight gain while on insulin. One way is to utilize portion control along with a healthy, nutritionally balanced food plan. It takes discipline, and it keeps the weight under control.

Lakeland 2014-02-28 15:06:13 -0600 Report

I'm not sure how metformin works, I'm on it & there are times where I'm in the 90's so I won't take it, I dont' want to go too low, buy my doctor says you can't go too low on the pill, so that I just don't understand.

when my dad was on insulin he loved to to cheat, he'd purposefully would over dose a little so he'd get "woosy" & need that piece of cake or something. He found much more freedom in eating because the insulin would bail him out. Needless to say he did die of complications to diabetes, kidney disease & he hated dialysis, but he was 86 & lived life the way he wanted to

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-04 13:52:13 -0600 Report

Sorry to hear about your Dad, I'm glad he liked his life in spite of being diabetic. I have been on Metformin since I was diagnosed with type 2. I also some times have highs and lows. When I have lows I take a glucose tab, drink oj, or eat a sweet snack. I do always try to eat healthy. The main problem I have with Metformin is it smells bad and I get tired of taking pills.

robertoj 2014-02-28 14:13:08 -0600 Report

My personal preference is insulin.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 17:48:40 -0600 Report

I'm with you on this one! No more side effects to deal with, good BG control, and no worries about unknown dangers that seem to frequently surface with oral medications! Let's have a toast to success!

granniesophie 2014-02-28 13:27:06 -0600 Report

I am on Lantus insulin-have been for a couple years, after a mess with Met causing Lactic Acidosis, and another mess with Bydureon, which caused the always in the back of me Celiac Disease to present. Add to that various reactions to other oral meds, and the doctor did not see insulin as the end of everything, but the beginning of making me feel better, and it does! I am on a 3 day sliding scale of Lantus, and have no side effects, aside from some bruises on my stomach from when I hit a vein, and since I bruise easily (see Celiac Disease) I just rotate until that spot heals. I did gain some weight, but whether that's due to the insulin, or because I was finally getting proper nutrition in my body after being so sick before the Celiac diagnosis, I don't know, and I am working to get it back off again. The doctor is not bothered by my weight-if I get it down, fine, if not, then try not to gain any more!
I don't think that insulin is the last chance a person has for treatment, rather a different way to treat, that's all!

jigsaw 2014-02-28 17:53:39 -0600 Report

Your story sounds very similar to mine. I could draw up a list of side effects that I experienced with oral meds. Don't worry, I'll spare you the horrendous details. Suffice to say, I'm very pleased with my results with insulin, and glad that it is working well for you!

alanbossman 2014-02-27 19:43:07 -0600 Report

I know that a lot of oral meds have side affects I am on metformin plus 14 units of lantus a day Doctor started me on insulin day one in the hospital and have been on insulin for almost 6 yrs. and have kept the weight off my doctor is happy that I have managed to keep my weight down

jigsaw 2014-02-28 06:24:14 -0600 Report

That's great that you have been able to keep the weight off. I know how easy it can be to grow lax, and slip up.
Unfortunately for me, after a year or so on metformin, I had some unusual side effects.and I had to stop taking it.
Keep up the good results! Apparently the combination of metformin and insulin are working well for you. I'm sure the metformin is helping to keep the cost of medication down.

GabbyPA 2014-02-27 14:46:11 -0600 Report

I had wanted to take insulin for a long time, but my doctor sees it as the "failure medicine of last resort" and said once I was on it there was no turning back. So many doctors "threaten" us with it, when I feel it's one of the safest treatments out there. I do have to admit, I hate, hate the weight gain it has caused me, but it has worked the best (though not as well as I had hoped) for me.

jigsaw 2014-03-03 08:30:52 -0600 Report

I'm curious as to why your doctor feels that once on insulin, there is no turning back? Does he feel we become dependant on it, or is there another issue at hand?
There are always pros and cons to complicate matters. Here is a tid bit of validating info that points out some positives.

jigsaw 2014-02-27 19:07:09 -0600 Report

I think my doctors biggest concern is the potential for hypos. He started me on a very low dose. Wasn't really doing the job. I called him and discussed increasing my dosage. He said ok, just go very slowly, 1 unit or so every few days. Well, I ended up increasing my dosage by 3 units, and that's where i remain. The next problem developed however. I began to gain weight very rapidly. I put on about 12 to 13 pounds so quickly, it was alarming. I had never really been more then about 5 to 7 pounds over weight in the past. My dietician emphasized portion control and exercise. Well, it worked, and I lost the gained weight fairly quickly. I admit, I have gained back about 7 lbs recently, but I'm working on not letting it get out of hand. It's is difficult, and definitely a balancing act.
That's the other thing, weight gain! My doctor said with insulin, you will gain weight. Quite frankly, I have managed to prove his statements inaccurate when it comes to me so far. I hope I can continue to win the weight battle!
Hypos have never been a problem for me luckily. The only time I went really low is when I mistakenly double dosed! Other wise I have never experienced a serious low. Additionally, I can't express enough how pleased I am not to have any side effects.

GabbyPA 2014-02-28 08:46:35 -0600 Report

I know I need to increase my dose, but the weight gain just flat out scares me. I had gained about 20 pounds in 6 months and that was horrible set back for me. I managed to loose it again, but feel it creeping back in. I know the key is exercise for me.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 11:49:41 -0600 Report

Along with portion control and exercise, I occasionally utilize a meal replacement. My endo agreed that a good meal replacement was fine. It helps. Check into it, if you haven't already.

locarb 2014-02-28 12:52:00 -0600 Report

Which "meal replacement" have you had experience with? How frequently do you reach for them?

jigsaw 2014-02-28 21:36:50 -0600 Report

For the last year or so I have occasionally used a protein drink as opposed to an actual meal replacement per se. If I see the lbs creeping up, I'll use it occasionally, to replace a dinner. It's is called Precision Engineered whey protein isolate. Low carb, low calorie, and very tasty.

locarb 2014-02-28 21:49:23 -0600 Report

I don't know how familiar you are with this, I wasn't at all and had to learn the hard way, but if you've had kidney stones, you have to be very careful about protein and oxalates. Oxalates are organic acids that bind certain minerals and decrease their absorption in your body. When combined with calcium to form calcium oxalate, these compounds can cause kidney stones, often caused by eating too much food that is high in oxalate as well as in calcium and protein. If you have kidney or other renal problems, it is recommended that you should not consume more than 50 milligrams of oxalates a day. Low protein foods should contain less than 10 grams per serving.

Just wanted to pass this along because I previously had no idea, never even heard of oxalates and ended up with surgery last year that included an awful recovery.

jigsaw 2014-03-01 06:02:23 -0600 Report

Thanks for that tip! I know it's important to use caution with protein if you have kidney problems. I was not familiar specifically to the ratio of oxalates.
Were you taking a protein drink at one time, or do you attribute your surgery to another cause?

sherryleigh 2014-03-01 07:21:43 -0600 Report

I don't know if you're type 1 or type 2 or if it matters, about 4 years ago I went off of my insulin.
I was eating good and I walked. I would get to the hospital early before work and I would walk the 2nd floor hallway listening to music on my ipod, sometimes I walked inside for a bit then outside for while.
Then my sister and her daughter came up from S. CAROLINA FOR OUR Family reunion. I still can't believe they let her fly, she is an uncontrolled diabetic and just had surgery to put in a defibrillator. She went from the Hospital to the airport. Once here she couldn't' t stand on her own even with a walker and couldn't swallow food. Just BEFOR going home she fell and ended up in hospital where I worked for a whole year. I became her power of atty as everyone went back home out of state. She was very demanding and I ran myself ragged, my numbers going back up from all the stress and an eight hour work day.
My goal is to get off of my diabetic meds again and stay off. I know I can do it!

tabby9146 2014-03-03 11:25:19 -0600 Report

sorry that happened to her and you! watch the stress. you have a positive attitude and that will go a long way toward your goal

jigsaw 2014-03-01 07:56:50 -0600 Report

I'm sorry that you and your sister have been through so much. I hope her situation has improved since.

You sound very motivated and determined. I'm sure if it's at all possible to get off medication, you will accomplish it.

locarb 2014-03-01 13:03:38 -0600 Report

Actually, in hindsight, I overdid it. I monitored my diet so closely that I no longer have symptoms. I substituted several meals for protein drinks or bars. I exercised frequently and honestly believed that I had navigated the system. I ended up with a kidney stone that was too large for anything other than surgery. Because the recovery was so unpleasant, I pass along information regarding protein and oxalates. A little information sometimes helps a lot. Just something else to keep in mind and in balance. Now I eat the way most of us discuss here, just with considerably less protein. The answer for me, however, continues to be low carbohydrates. It worked for me. I understand we are all biochemically unique, so this information should just be received in the spirit intended rather than dogma regarding lifestyle or diet. I recognize that medication, durable medical equipment and a combination of treatments ultimately controls this condition.

jayabee52 2014-02-27 14:34:48 -0600 Report

Howdy Jigsasw
Having been on both pills (Met) and injected insulin (NPH) I had no difficulties with either.

I had to change from the Met to NPH due to my kidney shut down in 2006 because Met is contraindicated with kidney problems.

My only difficulty was I gained weight on the NPH, but that was due to my eating too many carbs. (I had a weight problem for most of my adult life - but this added to it)

When I discovered that I could hope to control my Diabetes through my meal planning, (through DC here) I dropped the NPH and have been following my meal plan for the past 3 years. I have lost 65 lbs in the first 5 mo of my meal plan experiment and now have to worry about getting too thin.

The downside to managing my diabetes by my eating carefully, is that if I don't eat carefully, my Blood Glucose (BG) goes high and stays high for longer than I'd like. If I was still injecting NPH, I could try to cover for my indescretion. But that would likely lead to weight gain.

If I had to choose between pills and insulin only I would choose the insulin. But I still prefer the way i am doing it now.

God's best to you and yours

jigsaw 2014-02-27 19:47:48 -0600 Report

Well James, you are very fortunate to have found a food plan that works for you. I posted an article a while back on the subject of people that have been overweight, had a weight problem for most or part of their lives, and ended up with diabetes. There appears to be some chemical differences in overweight people with diabetes, that does not exist in thin or normal weight people with diabetes. Apparently, if caught early enough, and managed properly, with weight loss it is possible for some of these individuals to reverse their diabetes. Nick is a good example. Apparently, some of us with diabetes can manage it with a good food plan only, as you are doing.
Keep in mind, that I was never a heavy person with a weight problem. I was also reasonably active over the years. I exercised emphatically when I was diagnosed, and ate a very low carb, and healthy diet after being diagnosed. This kept me off medications for close to 7 years.

Apparently, some of us can manage our diabetes with only diet and exercise, but I believe there are those of us that cant. The question in my mind remains, how long can any individual successfully manage their diabetes without any meds. Personally, I don't know of anyone with diabetes that has gone an entire lifetime without meds. I'm not saying it can't be done however, and I hope it can.

I am fairly confident that without medication, I would not be able to eat properly. Small amounts of carbs would send my BG rocketing as noted in the past.. My pancreas simply does not produce enough insulin. If it was possible to eliminate medications in my case, I'm sure I would have made that discovery by now.

I definitely encourage anyone with diabetes to do what it takes to to eliminate medications. You have to try in order to make that determination and see if you can do it. Some of us are lucky in the sense that it can, and is being done!

tabby9146 2014-03-03 11:28:10 -0600 Report

I too, have nevr heard of anyone who can succesfully control/manage their D. well with only diet and exercise. But I am curious to know those who can for many yrs, and I have read from some on here, who have for a few yrs, and others who were able to for quite a few, before getting on pills. I myself, have gone since Feb. 2009 with diet and exercise. diagnosed Nov. 2008 lost all the weight almost, not quite (25 lbs by that Feb. ) kept it off all 5 years, and so it's been 5 years now for me with D&E and counting. I am very determined. My diet could be better for sure, but I have come a long way with it.

jigsaw 2014-03-03 13:48:42 -0600 Report

Tabby, It seems like you're are doing an excellent job so far. With a positive attitude, there is no doubt that you will get the best results possible.
Congratulations on managing successfully without medications. It's not an easy feat, as I'm well aware!

IronOre 2014-02-27 12:09:02 -0600 Report

But it is hard to tell if that is the right way to go if your body is producing some insulin as with type 2's.
I have been T1 for 39 years, and the act of giving myself a shot really dooesn't bother me as much as the finger prick testing does.
Why do people fear it ? I guess because of the side affects that you mentioned. The lows can be really bad. But if you test yourself the lows can be avoided.

JaredLahti 2014-02-28 19:36:44 -0600 Report

The key to this question is what type of diabetes you have. From my understanding a person with type 1 has to be on insulin. type 2 allows for so many different options.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-04 14:01:58 -0600 Report

I wasn't given a choice. Diagnosed with type 2, I was put on Metformin and told that since it seems to work then that's all I need. If it quits working and/or I become type 1 then I would have a choice, which would probably involve insulin also. I wish we had some more experienced doctors here that are in my network.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 20:37:25 -0600 Report

You are correct about type 1s. Type 2s on the other hand, do not ALWAYS have a choice! It is true however, that type 2s frequently have a choice.

JaredLahti 2014-02-28 20:47:45 -0600 Report

I never said ALWAYS. I said that it allows for many different options. I try to refrain from absolutes because there are always exceptions. There are many Type 2s that could in all reality control their situation through healthy eating and exercise. Trust me I realize that is not the case for everyone and for those people doctors and the patient should be making an informed decision on what is best for that person. I wouldn't presume to tell anyone exactly what they should do because I am constantly learning about diabetes myself. I will gladly give my experiences and share any information I think is helpful that my doctor provides me.

jigsaw 2014-02-28 21:15:02 -0600 Report

You didn't use the word ALWAYS, I was the one that used the word always with emphasis. Nothing personal intended!

JaredLahti 2014-03-01 21:10:57 -0600 Report

No worries. I know we are all on here to provide support for each other. I like what somebody else said on one of the other topics. When we provide our insights it should be taken as just that. What works for me may not work for you. One thing I would like to state is that I live in San Antonio, Texas. I see firsthand so many people that have type 2 diabetes and act like insulin is an easy way to control their blood sugar. Many of these people would be able to control their diabetes if they just put some effort into taking care of themselves. I do hate to see people hurting themselves. My dad had a brain tumor that when they removed it they also removed his pituitary gland. Since then he has developed allergies to many foods and he follows his diet to the t, because he hates feeling like crap. Due to the 10+ years of allergies being misdiagnosed he has discs in his back that have disintegrated along with some peripheral neuropathy. They now think that he has late onset MS. This man still gets out everyday and walks for hours a day having done half marathons and marathons over the last couple of years. This is a big reason I feel the way I do about diabetes care. My big hope would be that some of the younger people that get diabetes would read the horror stories and start taking care of themselves while they have prediabetes so they never have to deal with this stuff. Or that newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics would take it as serious as this disease is.

jigsaw 2014-03-02 07:01:29 -0600 Report

I think much of what you have mentioned and pointed out is commendable.
I'm sorry about the tough hand that your dad was dealt. He seems like an impressive and emotionally strong individual.
I'm pleased to have met you here on DC, and I'm confident that you will be an asset here. Looking forward to future posts!

jigsaw 2014-02-28 14:26:37 -0600 Report

I'm a type 2, and still producing insulin. I haven't had a problem with lows, but I have had more consitent blood glucose control. I'm pleased with not having any side effects, as I did with oral medications. No problem with finger pricks or pen injections with insulin. As a matter of fact, I barely feel the pen injection at all.

Nick1962 2014-02-27 12:02:09 -0600 Report

My somewhat uneducated opinion would be first, the delivery system of insulin is such that many don’t want to mess with it. Second, the cost, handling, and shelf life make it a less desirable option.
Injectable insulin has been around since 1922 and has been very refined since then. Since insulin is a body-manufactured hormone, and even with synthetics, there are typically no side effects other than over or under dosing. That’s a huge plus for sure, but still not a defining factor in its favor when considering the convenience of oral meds. Even with my horrible experience with Met, I’d seek orals before I committed to insulin. Just my .02

camerashy 2014-03-01 22:26:53 -0600 Report

The cost of insulin without insurance is certainly prohibitive. Insurance companies are getting better about covering the cost. There is nothing to the handling of insulin pens. Take one out of the box (which is kept in the refrigerator) stick a needle on the end and dial your dose. The shelf life is more than double that of most pills - 2 years.

jigsaw 2014-03-02 06:51:06 -0600 Report

Insulin can be absurdly expensive for many, if not most! I do hope that this changes in the near future. The prohibitive cost is really very sad.

jigsaw 2014-02-27 20:10:16 -0600 Report

Certainly the convenience of oral meds is an important factor. I'm sure that for some it would be extremely difficult to to get into the routine of taking insulin. Lifestyle and life circumstances can interfere, and make it close to impossible for some.

As for me, insulin fits right into my lifestyle and circumstances. Shelf life is no problem. I get a 3 month supply for $50, stick it in the refrigerator and there is no problem. I Keep one pen at room temperature, for everyday use, and for up to 30 days if need be.

You have been very fortunate to have been able to eliminate meds. I'm not sure if you were on meds long enough to make an accurate determination concerning oral meds vs insulin in general. My opinions evolved over a 20 year period of dealing with diabetes, and meds. At this point in time, I suspect that oral meds are better for some, insulin is better for others, and no meds is best for those that can achieve successful management.

Nick1962 2014-02-28 08:32:22 -0600 Report

True, I was not on diabetes related oral meds long enough to make a determination. Thus my “uneducated” preface. I was, however, on a host of medications for other issues and it was like a game of medication chess trying to figure out which were causing what side effects, which would be cheaper (and still effective) as a generic, which new combination drug could be used (and covered by insurance) – I was taking some drugs to counteract the effects of others. Of course I wasn’t “managing” my health at the time, and due to my own stupidity, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by the outcome.

Adding Metformin to the above issues at the time was like throwing gas on a smoldering fire, and injections were probably what I would have ended up on if I hadn’t struck a deal with my PCP to let me “work it out” for a few months first. Those early Met side effects really scared the crap out of me. Who knows, I may have a different reaction to it now that I’ve “cleaned myself up”, but I really don’t want to find out. I know there are many people in my same situation.

Yup, lifestyle sure has a lot to do with the decision, but I think attitude does too. I know a T1 who is perfectly at home with her insulin regimen, but I also see many here who treat it as almost a satanic ritual. So, in answer to your post question “which do you believe is more advantageous?” Not sure there is a single answer.

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